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A report first published last October by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health found that medication taken to treat hyperthyroidism in pregnant women led to birth defects. The report was based on a study which examined more than 815,000 children born between 1996 and 2008. Those who were exposed to hyperthyroid medication early in the pregnancy were more likely to experience birth defects. However, the spectrum of malformations varied considerably.

Drugs used to treat hyperthyroidism are shorthanded as ATDs. According to UpToDate.com, most antithyroid drugs (ATDs) have few risks and side effects. Patients who have an overactive thyroid can have the condition permanently or temporarily. An example of permanent hyperthyroidism would be that brought on by Grave's disease. On the other hand, pregnant women can experience hyperthyroidism. In these cases, ADTs are given to the women temporarily. The 2013 report suggests that new ADTs should be found for use with pregnant women.

There are two main types of ADTs available in the U.S. as of right now. These are Methimazole (MMI) and Propylthiouracil (PTU). MMI, according to UpToDate.com, has a faster onset time and fewer side effects. PTU takes more time to enter the blood stream. However, recent research has found that PTU has a lower risk for pregnant women. Experts now say even PTU should only be given to pregnant women in the first trimester.

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Several forms of testosterone therapy have come under fire lately due to concerns for patient safety. According to WebMD, while the practice of prescribing hormonal therapy treatment to men with low testosterone has recently become more and more common, the long-term safety and side effects are not yet clear.

This year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it now requires such products to add a general warning about potential blood clots in the veins that are known to occur with certain testosterone therapies. Other therapies are known to result in negative side effects for the heart.

A study published by PLOS ONE has found “a twofold increase in risk of nonfatal heart attack shortly after initiation of testosterone therapy,” when used by men under the age of 65 who suffer from heart disease. However, it is noted that men, ranging in the millions, utilize testosterone as a lifestyle drug as a means to reverse the natural testosterone decrease men experience as they age.

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Diabetes is one of the most common debilitating diseases in the U.S. today, and according to the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), an estimated 8.3 percent of the population suffers from diabetes, roughly 25.8 million Americans. However common, the disease is one of the least discussed conditions to affect so many people. In fact, the NDEP reports that an estimated 7 million people with the disease are not aware that they have it. Nearly 2 million people are diagnosed with the disease annually.

The two most common types of diabetes are Type 1 and 2. Type 1 was previously identified as early-onset or juvenile diabetes. Type 2 is by far the most common, and accounts for approximately 90 to 95 percent of all diagnoses. There is no cure for either type of diabetes, though studies have proven that regular exercise and weight loss can help prevent or delay the onset of the disease for many people. Despite these easy ways to help mitigate the effects of diabetes, the disease still costs the nation an estimated $116 billion in direct medical costs (such as hospitalizations, medical care, and treatments) every year. An additional $58 billion is spent annually on indirect costs associated with diabetes, according to NDEP, such as disability payments, time off work, and early death.

Because the disease is so well known but is not, by any means, a new disease in America, it is easy to presume that treatments have been vetted and considered. Noted by DrugWatch.com, however, a slew of recent lawsuits have been filed regarding injuries sustained from Actos, a popular drug prescribed to millions of Americans with Type 2 diabetes that is meant to control blood sugar. The drug, reported by DrugWatch, is linked “to serious, life-threatening side effects, including heart failure and bladder cancer.”

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A recent recall of the drug atorvastatin, the generic form of Lipitor, has left many consumers confused as to what they should do with the bottles of the medication they have sitting in their medicine cabinets. Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, which produces the drug, have directed pharmacists not to dispense the drug because it may contain specks of glass. But the recall was only directed at the retail level, and the company has given no direction to patients who may have bottles of the contaminated drug in their medicine cabinets. According to a statement issued on the company's website, the recall is being taken “with the full knowledge” of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Headquartered in India, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals is one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world. In the past, the FDA has accused the company of “a pattern of systemic fraudulent conduct” over a period of years for fabricating data in drug applications, taking shortcuts in crucial quality tests, and violating numerous additional manufacturing standards. In 2008, the federal agency banned Ranbaxy from importing over 30 different drug products into the U.S. That ban still stands today.

In an interview with CNN, a spokesperson for the FDA was unable to answer why the recall isn't advising consumers to stop taking pills and instead referred questions about the recall to Ranbaxy's website.

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